May 31, 1921

UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

I say it is a very

advisable principle, but it should come about only by agreement.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Then my ears were at fault. I understood the hon. gentleman to argue for half an hour against the principle of dependable flow.

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

There are some power

plants to which the natural flow is more advantageous than the dependable flow, and vice versa.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Does the hon. gentleman think that we should have the dependable flow principle enforced in respect of the waters flowing out of the lake of the Woods?

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

You should have dependable flow with compensation or concurrence of all interested, but you should not take it arbitrarily.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

There is nothing here

to prevent compensation if any injury is done. The question is: dependable flow, or no dependable flow in respect of waters flowing out of the lake? The hon. gentleman, as I understood him, argued for half an hour that we had no right to insist on the principle of dependable flow, because the owners of power had the right to natural flow, and all the advantages that the natural flow would give. In the first place, how can you have natural flow when, at the same time, you must, not naturally at all, but for the general benefit of all, keep the flow of the lake out of the natural level? How can you have natural flow? In times of high water you must hold the water from going out of the lake, and do the very opposite at other times. There you have the principle of natural flow interfered with, and you cannot help it. You must have it interfered with to the general advantage of navigation and in the interests of all concerned. But in the next place, have we reached the point where we must discuss whether dependable flow is a right principle or not? The International Joint Commission, after hearing all parties affected, find that it is the right principle; after hearing all the power interests, the navigation interests, the fishery interests, and those whose lands were flooded, reported in favour of the principle of dependable flow; and acting upon that

report, having accepted it, it is our business to see that we are in a position to carry out that recommendation. What is the sense of saying, in one breath, that we should keep the present board in operation under the Orders in Council, and in the next breath advocating that we should abandon the dependable flow principle, and let these people at Norman dam, and further down, have natural flow? Why, the Orders in Council that constitute the board say it must insist upon the dependable flow principle. I hope I have made that clear. Those who say that dependable flow must not be insisted upon at the lake of the Woods, must also say that we should abandon the board altogether, and put it out of office, because that board, while in office, is bound to carry out the dependable flow principle. The hon. gentleman stated -and I took his words down mentally- that if the joint legislation had been passed, things would have been all right. Well, the town of Kenora was opposed to the joint legislation. They were invited to come down and be heard and were given plenty of time to do so.

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEPER:

Does the Prime Minister not recall that they had only three or four days, and wired asking for a postponement? They had just returned, and did not want to turn round and come back immediately.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

They had been here,

but they did not appear before us at all. They went home, and were given notice which allowed them two or three days, before leaving, to come again if they had anything to say. I really thought that two or three days' time was enough, but they did not come. Anyhow, all I insist on is the fact that they were just as much opposed to that joint legislation as they are to this, because the Backus interests at Kenora

and naturally Kenora is concerned in the development of the Backus interests-do not want dependable flow at the lake of the Woods, but such flow as suits Mr. Backus The more it suits him the better pleased they are. That is the whole thing. They were just as much opposed to that legislation as they are opposed to this. Now, where is the consistency in saying that the joint legislation would have been all right if it had gone through, that things would have been fine, and at the same time arguing that you must not carry out the dependable flow principle? The joint legislation provided for that. The province of Ontario, through its Prime Minister acquiesced in the principle of dependable flow, and not only did it acquiesce, but

ever since its representatives have been on the Control Board, the board-for the last two years-has upheld that principle, as they uphold it to-day. We are either going to throw it overboard and put the control of the lake of the Woods outflow in the hands of those who will abandon the dependable flow principle, and take the flow as they want it, or we must pass this legislation or some other legislation to the same effect.

Surely we do not want any more reason for the legislation than that given by the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Keefer), and the member for West Lambton (Mr. Pardee). They come to the committee and say there must not be any control that has such statutory foundation that it can enforce its decrees. They are ready for control that has no statutory foundation, and that can be defied. There must not be such control as insists upon dependable flow, but only such as leaves the flow to the sweet will of those in control of the Norman dam, giving the assurance, not to us, but to the Government of Ontario, that they will take care of the control of the Norman dam in such a manner that our international obligations and the interests of navigation will be respected, and we shall not need to bother our responsibilities at all. I do not see what stronger argument in favour of this legislation could be addressed to the committee than that put forward by the two hon. members who have just taken their seats. It is not that there is any one in Manitoba who wants to take advantage of investments at Kenora. The hon. member for West Lambton tries to lift before us the shadow of the ghost of Mackenzie and Mann. He says that they have interests further down the river, and that they are behind this legislation. Well, the correspondence on

the table of the House shows that the most insistent demand for this legislation comes from Mr. Norris, the Premier of Manitoba. Is he championing the cause of Mackenzie and Mann? He is championing the cause of the province of Manitoba. Is he the champion of the cause of Mackenzie and Mann? No, he is the champion of the cause of the province of Manitoba. It is his duty to act in that capacity. We would have no right to accede to his demand at the expense of some other province, or m defiance of some principle; but we do accede to his demand because it is consistent with the findings of the tribunal which heard the case-which was compe-

tent to hear it and competent to decide it -and which gave this as its judgment. That is why we accede to his demand. Not only is Mr. Norris urging this legislation most insistently, and Mr. Norris's Government, but also every municipality in that whole province which is affected. I have not looked through the list but there is a series of resolutions, an inch or half an inch thick, emanating from municipalities and others whose very industrial life depends upon the conservation of the principle which the International Joint Commission lays down. My hon. friend (Mr. Keefer) now says a situation exists wherein the people of Manitoba are asking that other people make investments for them at Kenora and at the lake of the Woods. Nothing could be more fanciful than that. All the people of Manitoba are asking for is this: that there be control of the water-powers in order that such control shall bring about the maximum utilization of the waters of the lake. That is what the International Joint Commission sought to determine. They were there to determine how best the interests of navigation, the interests of the owners of these lands that would be flooded, the interests of the riparian owners, and of everything else, power included-how all these interests could best be served. They made the'r finding, and it is not until this afternoon that their finding is openly attacked in what might be called central determination namely, the principle of "dependable flow." For if we now abandon that, then we bid good-bye to the projects that have rested upon it and upon which thousands have been expended-yes, I think millions-projects that are in part the enterprise of private individuals it is true, but projects that are in the main the enterprise of the collective people of the province of Manitoba and of municipalities there-not the city of Winnipeg alone but many other municipalities as well. Those projects-in which Ontario has acquiesced, in which Manitoba has acquiesced, in which United States has acquiesced,-have the right to expect that they shall stand and not be invaded and cast down by the conduct of any interest, of any individual or any town however ample the justification of that town may appear to be. It is not the intention of any control board to interfere with any legitimate development by the town of Kenora. Why should it do so? There is nothing to be served to that end. If it is in the interest of this board to do so, why was it not equally in the interest of the board that has been operating in the past? Right here let me say that the Government intends-and I do not think there is any reason to doubt that the intention will be carried out if this legislation passes-to appoint the very same men who have been acting for the last two years and a quarter, including the two who were nominated by the province of Ontario. Manitoba has no representative upon that board. There are two Ontario representatives and two Dominion representatives, and if the Ontario representatives are willing and are permitted to act then it is the intention of this Government that they-in association with the two with whom they worked in harmony all these years-shall form the board, and when they set to work they will be setting to work on the ground work of an authority that is unimpeachable, and able to have their will carried out; not carried out according to mere caprice and in a fashion which will destroy private rights without compensation-if those private rights are really vested and secure-but that will gain the utmost public advantage from, ana the utmost utilization of, the existing great resource. That is all the board will seek to do, and in seeking to do that it wiP be armed with authority to that end.

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L LIB

John Patrick Molloy

Laurier Liberal

Mr. MOLLOY:

I desire to say a word or two on this matter which is of great public importance to the province of manitoba. I will not attempt to follow the arguments of the gentlemen who have preceded me-gentlemen belonging to the legal profession who have argued from the legal point of view more or less-but will consider the matter from a common-sense point of view.

The present situation has arisen, as I understand it, owing to the failure of the Ontario Legislature to pass concurrent legislation with this Parliament in regard to the board of control. The board of control was formed of the four gentlemen whose names have been mentioned by the Prime Minister, but they had no legislative authority behind them and so Were not in a position to carry their views into effect. For instance, I am informed that the Norman dam is in need at the present time of repairs to the extent of $60,000 or $70,000. The board of control, however, were unable to recommend any expenditure for that purpose because they did not know whether the provincial and Dominion authorities would sanction it. Along the Winnipeg river there are a number of splendid power sites. The city of Winnipeg is therefore

directly interested in this important question, as are other sections of the province of Manitoba. I am not speaking for any of the interests that have been referred to when I say that the province of Manitoba is asking for the passage of this legislation, which is nothing more or less than protective legislation. The hon. member for West Lambton (Mr. Pardee) this afternoon sought to make a point of appealing to Liberals to oppose this Bill. I am just as good a Liberal as my hon. friend ever was, and I am going to support this legislation. I believe it to be liberal in its character. It is legislation for the protection of the people of the province of Manitoba as against what may probably, in the long run, be the interests of one man if this Bill be not passed. If the enactment of this legislation was desired, or sought, by any particular interest, and that alone, I do not know whether I would bother supporting it or not. But I intend to support it on the ground that not having the enjoyment of our natural resources the only authority to which we can appeal is the Dominion Government. If I thought that my vote in this matter, or that the effect of the operation of any provision of the Bill, would prejudicially affect the province of Ontario in the slightest degree I would refrain from giving the measure my support. But I am a Liberal, and as such I believe in provincial rights of which Liberals have always been the champions. If my hon. friend from West Lambton, or any other hon. member, can show me that this protective legislation in the interest of the province of Manitoba will injure the province of Ontario to the extent of a five-cent piece I will vote against the Bill. But they cannot do it-they cannot prove that there will be any such result. Now, as I have already said, we do not control the natural resources of the province, therefore, in this matter it is the Dominion which must act. This is not a question of the Dominion versus the provinces-it is a question of provincial rights as against Backus' rights. If this Bill be not passed, and Mr. Backus succeeds in his plans, he will, by reason of his control of the water-powers on Rainy river and lake of the Woods be able to so regulate the flow of water passing through Norman dam and the White Dog rapids, as to be in a position, if reasons of his own prompt him to do so, to cut off the heat, light and power supply of the province of Manitoba obtained through the Winnipeg river. For that reason I am compelled to support the Bill.

There is another factor too. The Winnipeg river has been declared to be a navi-.

gable river. As I understand, the agreement that the Dominion Government wanted to enter into with the Ontario Government was simply this, to share control of that portion of the Winnipeg river which does not lie withn the boundary of the province of Ontario. The Norman dam, I am informed, was built by a Mr. Mathers a great many years ago as the result of a concession. It appears that he obtained from the province of Ontario a quantity of timber on a number of islands, and the province, if I am correctly informed, asked for this timber to be surrendered, and in consideration of his doing so granted him permission to build this dam. Mr. Backus, later on, bought the dam from a private party. My hon. friend from Port Arthur (Mr. Keefer) mentioned about compensation. I understand that Backus was not only offered all he paid for the structure, but that the Dominion Government invited him to bring forward every item he had paid on account of the dam with interest added, which they were willing to repay him. But he refused their offer and later tried to sell the dam to the city of Winnipeg for $1,500,000, which he had bought for only $147,000.

I support this legislation because any concession of the kind I have indicated is against the interests of the people, and should not be granted to Backus or any other private individual. The waters there belong to the people of the provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, and! not to any individual. They were put there by the Creator for the benefit of our people, and as many of our people should be benefited thereby as possible, rather than a favoured few. t

There is another ground on which I support the Government, and that is power development. I understand there can be developed on the Winnipeg river 500,000 horse-power. At present the city of Winnipeg is using 47,000 horse-power and the electric railway 35,000 horse-power, and I understand that the city is now endeavouring to establish a plant to generate further power, but they cannot get money to carry on the enterprise, because the financial institutions take this stand: We do not know who owns or controls the power on this river, and therefore we do not propose to lend you any more money. If it is true that 500,000 horse-power can be developed, it is also true that the quantity of electrical power demanded for use doubles in seven years. This means that all the power which can be developed along that river will be in use by 1947, and more will then be re-

quired. As I said before, it strikes me that it is not a matter of provincial rights, it is a matter between the rights of the province and the rights of Backus. Why should we for one minute allow any man to purchase the Norman dam, or any other water-power and, with unlimited capital, put himself in a position to be able to say: You cannot have that power unless you deal with me. Hearsay evidence is not considered good evidence, but I have been told that Backus a short time ago stated in Winnipeg that within twenty years, if his scheme matured, his son would be the most powerful power magnate in the whole of North America. When he gets control of this power he will say to the people of Manitoba: Bow to King Backus! I, for one, refuse to bend the knee -to him or to any other magnate.

The province of Manitoba has spent millions of dollars on these water-powers. The argument has been advanced by the member for West Lambton (Mr. Pardee) that he and others who share his views are trying to do something for the province of Ontario, and he quoted those old lines:

The tyrant's hand is on thy throat, Ontario! Ontario!

Well, I heard that when I was a boy at school. But it seems to me that what my hon. friend and some others want to do is to put the heel of Ontario on the neck of Manitoba. I can only say, Mr. Chairman, that I am opposed to any such proceeding. The trouble is that this man Backus has received so much from the people of this country that he simply does not know when to quit. I remember in the old days the late James Conmee was the only one in the Private Bills Committee who was able to handle Backus and put him where he belonged. And, as far as this country is concerned, we are going to put Backus where he belongs, no matter what some people may say about this legislation. At any rate, that is the stand I take.

Mr. Backus owns the pulp and paper mill and the power development at Fort Frances. He also owns the Norman dam and the Kenora municipal power plant. He has acquired, or will soon acquire, the right to develop White Dog falls on the Winnipeg river near the eastern boundary of Manitoba. He also has large concessions of pulp and paper on the English river, and will also, no doubt, get the power sites on this river. The result is that he is in possession of the means of controlling the flow of the waters down the Winnipeg river, and may, if he is not controlled, do indefinite damage by holding up the 267

water at times to suit his own purposes.

Now, to sum this up, Mr. Chairman- and I do not intend to take any more time, because I do not have to talk at great length to make myself understood-I can put it in a sentence: This legislation is merely a means of protecting the interests of the people in one province against those in another on an interptrovincial stream over which this Government has the right of control.

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UNION

Matthew Robert Blake

Unionist

Mr. BLAKE:

I was very sorry to hear from the member for West Lambton (Mr. Pardee) such an attack upon the people of Winnipeg and upon this Bill. I agree with every word said by the member for Proveneher (Mr. Molloy) that this is an interpnovircial stream, and as such should be controlled for the interests of both provinces rather than for the sole benefit of Backus. The hon. member for West Lambton expressed his regret at this Bill being brought down in the dying hours of the session, but we must do some work before prorogation.

It has been urged that because nothing but small and shallow boats are used on the Winnipeg river, therefore it cannot be regarded as a navigable stream. Will my hon. friend say that because there are small draught boats plying on the Mississippi that therefore the Mississippi is not a navigable stream? This river is a navigable stream, and must be regarded as such and controlled by the Dominion Government.

My hon. friend from West Lambton also regrets that the people of Winnipeg are interested in this matter. Why should they not be? Would he rather have Backus completely interested and the people of Winnipeg taking no part? The industrial life of tne province of Manitoba depends upon the power development on this river. We are also dependent upon the waters of this lake for our supply of drinking water. We have had our whiskey cut off but we do not purpose having our water supply cut off. The city of Winnipeg is the fourth manufacturing city in Canada and we have as cheap power as is to be foiind on the American continent. The water for our waterworks comes by gravity from the lake of the Woods, there being a drop of 291 feet from the lake of the Woods to lake Winnipeg. Practically every foot of this water can be utilized for the development of power to meet the needs of Winnipeg in the days to come.

The member for Lambton went on to say that there was plenty of power on the Winnipeg river for Manitoba and that there

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REVISED EDITION. COMMONS


was no need for controlling the flow. The whole point with us is that we do not wish to be left in the hands of this man Backus. Backus got concessions in connection with the building of a power plant at Fort Frances. I lived at Fort Frances during the early construction days, and I know that his agreements with the Dominion Government were cast into the scrap heap and that he put most of his plant on the American side, paying no regard whatever to his agreement. This point was also brought out by the Prime Minister in his remarks this afternoon, with regard to the way agreements had been dealt with by Backus. There is no interference with provincial rights in this legislation. There is as much power at the Norman dam under controlled development as Kenora will ever utilize, and there is no question of harm being done to Kenora's interests. Backus seems to have it in his head that the Canadians are useful only to be exploited by the Yankees on every possible occasion and he has proceeded at all times to exploit the Canadians. If he got complete control he would be put in the position of being able to exploit Manitoba as well as the whole of northwestern Ontario. As I understand it, Backus is an American and his partner Brooks is a senator in the Minnesota legislature. During the time of the war we had a paper controller, and Mr. Backus even defied that official; he has tried to be a law unto himself on every possible occasion. An instance of that is when he started to open one of the outlets of the lake of the Woods without filing any plans with the Public Works Department. He does not seem to have changed for the better at all. I do not think that even the speech of the hon. member for West Lamb-ton will have the effect of making him any better than he has been in the past or less inclined to exploit the public domain in the future. The member for West Lambton said that if there was no interference with the flow below the dam, everything would be right. Well, it is the interfering with the water at the dam, not below it, that we are raising the hue and cry about. If Backus got control of this dam-and the control that exists at present may be cancelled on thirty days' notice-and took such action as would interfere with the work of the power plants at Winnipeg we would find ourselves without power to run our industries, to light the city or to distribute power throughout the province as is being done at present. The control at present is absolutely unsatisfactory to the city of Winnipeg, and that being the case we do not propose to let Backus do as he sees fit in this matter. Let him run the Drury Government according to his own fancy and prevent the concurrent legislation from being put through if he wishes. The hon. member for West Lambton agrees with many of the principles advocated with regard to the corttrol but not with regard to the suggested provisions for full control of the height of the dam. He contended that Winnipeg wished to have the primary right to control the flow and wants to be assured that the waters shall always flow. Well, the question of dependable flow does not enter into this. Dependable flow and utilizable flow have been spoken of on many occasions, but in any power plant the dependable flow is certainly the one that is utilized. One of the hon. gentlemen who spoke has urged that this legislation constituted an interference with northwestern Ontario's commercial growth. But we have no intention of interfering with the growth of Kenora or their control of power; we have intentions though, of interfering with Backus getting control of these waters of the lake of the Woods. If he were to get control of this Norman dam he could stop the supply of water to the power plants at present operating and lay any terms he wished to name to give them the privilege of having this power. Some hon. gentlemen would seem to wish that the Dominion Parliament should put itself in the position that the province of Manitoba might find itself in some day, by catering to this man, who has done nothing but exploit the resources of the country on every possible occasion. The legislation which is now proposed is fair and just to all. No harm will be done by it to the people of Kenora. One of the speakers said that the provinces could get together and settle this matter even if we did not have this legislation. Well, they can get together just as well after the Bill is passed and settle any disputes that may arise between them. The town of Kenora, so far as I know, has not made any move to send deputations down here with regard to this matter and make representations on behalf of what they deem to be their own interests. They seem to feel that something is wrong, but they have not taken the trouble to find out whether or not that feeling is a supposition not based upon the facts. They are working,, indeed, purely on supposition. The member for Port Arthur and Kenora (Mr. Keefer) said that everybody wanted control. I am quite satisfied that practically everybody does want control in this matter, but certainly Backus does not. The question of dependable flow through control of Rainy lake is not a factor in the matter. The Norman dam is 100 miles distant from Rainy lake, and the dam on the Kettle river controls the flow into Rainy lake. There is no reason why the people of Manitoba should be held up and made to pay for the water which at present flows over the dam at Fort Frances to provide power for the Backus interests. Backus is undoubtedly already trying to get paid for the rights which have been granted to him in the water which flows over the Rainy river dam and on into the lake of the Woods, over the Norman dam and down through the power plants of Winnipeg. I do not need to go into the reasons why the Provincial Legislature did not pass the Bill embodying concurrent legislation. I understand that every group in the Ontario Legislature was in favour of the Backus interests and opposed to the Bill, and that the fate of the legislation introduced by the Premier of Ontario was determined by the extent of the opposition which was put up to the Bill. There was another report made regarding lac Seul power being destroyed. The people were nervous that the control of the English river Would raise the waters on lac Seul so as to stop the power already developed at lac Seul. Nothing in the Bill gives any reason for alarm on this point. One outlet for settlement was that the Department of Public Works should withhold consent to present works. The people of Kenora are making much talk about the taking over of the control of this dam. If these works were held up by the Federal Government, the people of Kenora would have some just cause for grievance, and their voice would undoubtedly be heard. No harm is going to be done by this measure to a single citizen of northwestern Ontario or to anyone in Ontario with the exception of Backus, who is the chief opponent of this measure. As the hon. member for Pro-vencher (Mr. Molloy) said, no harm is contemplated even to the Premier of Ontario, and it is only just and right that this Bill should go through. At six o'clock, the committee rose and the House took recess. 267 i After Recess The House resumed at Eight o'clock.


PRIVATE BILLS


DIVORCE-ALPHONSE LeMOYNE de MARTIGNY House again in committee on Bill No. 120 (from the Senate), for the relief of Alphonse LeMoyne de Martigny, Mr. Boivin in the Chair.


L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

When this Bill was last before the committee, the preamble had been read, and consideration thereof postponed. Clause 1 had been read, and was under consideration.

On clause 1-marriage dissolved.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I understand from the promoter of the Bill that it is going to be dropped, so I would move that the committee rise.

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UNION

Henry Herbert Stevens

Unionist

Mr. STEVENS:

I would suggest to my hon. friend that perhaps it would be a little unfair to take that course. I may be out of order in speaking at this stage, but I would crave the indulgence of the committee. If the hon. member simply moves that the committee rise, there will be no fees refunded. It would be better to move that the Bill be discharged.

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UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Militia and Defence)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

A motion that the committee rise will kill all the other Bills, will it not? ,

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UNION
L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I must point out to the hon. member that a motion that the committee rise and report progress is not debatable. The motion now before the Chair is a motion to rise and report progress.

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May 31, 1921